July 23, 2013 -- All Droids are not created equal, or at least that's Motorola and Verizon's message today with the introduction of three new co-branded Droid phones -- the Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx and Droid Mini. Hitting stores in August, the three Android handsets have clear hardware differences from each other but together they share advanced new features, which allow users to control the phone with their voice or gestures.
Turning on the camera doesn't require you to find the camera button on the display. Instead, with Quick Capture, users can launch the phones' 10-megapixel cameras by shaking the phone twice and then tapping anywhere on the screen to snap a photo. You can also share those photos with others around you with the Droid Zap function, which wirelessly sends photos to a nearby Droid phone with a swipe.
The phone responds to voice commands better than other Android phones too. Similar to how you navigate Google Glass, you can say "Okay Google Now" and the phone will be woken up. Say "Okay Google Now Call John" and it will dial up John's number. There's also a new Active Display feature which lets you see notifications, send text messages and make calls without having to wake up the phone. It's all done on the lock screen.
The camera and voice features are said to be coming to Motorola's made-in-the-US Moto X phone, which will be announced on August 1. ABC News first reported that the Moto X phone will be more customizable than other phones with a selection of color and engraving options, something enabled by the manufacturing facility Motorola has built in Texas.
The new Droid phones will still be made overseas, says Motorola. The Moto X phone, which is said to be one of the first phones worked on since Motorola was acquired by Google in 2011, is expected to be available on all the major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. The phones all run Android 4.2.2, though Google is expected to talk more about the next version of Android tomorrow at an event.
So, what is the difference between the three phones? Mostly screen and battery size. The $99.99 (with a two-year contract) Droid Mini has a 4.3-inch screen and wireless charging features, while the $199.99 Droid Ultra has a 5-inch screen and is thinner. Then the $299.99 Maxx has that same 5-inch screen as the Ultra, but instead has a much larger 3500mAH battery, which promises two full days on a charge. All the phones are available with Verizon LTE, are made out of a Kevlar fiber material and have a water-repellant coating.
All the phones are available today for pre-order, but won't ship until August. The Droid Ultra and Maxx will be out on August 20 and the Mini on August 29.
The Moto X, which is currently being tested by Verizon, according to ABC News sources, is expected to hit around the same time.